Three elected to the American Pediatric SocietyJan. 5, 2023, 9:56 AM
by Christina Echegaray
Three physicians in the Vanderbilt Department of Pediatrics have been elected to the American Pediatric Society (APS).
The newest members of the APS are: Ritu Banerjee, MD, PhD, Jill Simmons, MD, and Jörn-Hendrik Weitkamp, MD. Including this year’s inductees, the Department of Pediatrics now has 37 faculty who are members of the APS.
The APS, founded in 1888, was the first North American honorary society for academic pediatricians. Members are recognized for leadership, teaching, research and contributions at an international level.
“It is a distinctive honor to be elected to the American Pediatric Society, one of the nation’s oldest and most prestigious societies for academic pediatricians,” said Steven Webber, MBChB, MRCP, chair of the Department of Pediatrics, Pediatrician-in-Chief at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt and James C. Overall Professor.
“Congratulations to Drs. Banerjee, Simmons and Weitkamp on this well-earned and deserving recognition of their commitment to discovery and dedication to advancing therapies and health care for children.”
Banerjee is professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Pediatric Infectious Diseases. She conducts clinical research related to surveillance of antibiotic-resistant bacteria and strategies to optimize appropriate antibiotic use. She is principal investigator on several National
Institutes of Health and CDC-funded studies implementing and evaluating rapid diagnostics and other antibiotic stewardship interventions.
She is also medical director of the Pediatric Antimicrobial Stewardship Program.
Simmons is a professor of Pediatrics in the Ian M. Burr Division of Pediatric Endocrin-ology and Diabetes at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. She is the founder and director of the Vanderbilt Program for Pediatric Metabolic Bone Disease, the founder and chair of the Hazinski Society for Faculty Development and the director for Faculty Mentorship Programs in the Department of Pediatrics at Vanderbilt University. She is a member of the scientific advisory board for Soft Bones as well as the Rare Bone Disease Alliance.
Simmons’ clinical and research interests include Type 1 diabetes as well as pediatric metabolic bone diseases such as hypophosphatasia, osteogenesis imperfecta, osteoporosis and rickets.
She has been a successful local principal investigator for multiple clinical trials in metabolic bone disease, including asfotase alpha in infants with severe hypophosphatasia, denosumab in pediatric patients with osteogenesis imperfecta, and burosumab in pediatric patients with hypophosphatemic rickets. She is also an active investigator in several international longitudinal observational registries.
Weitkamp is a professor of Pediatrics in the Mildred Stahlman Division of Neonatology whose research focuses on neonatal immunology, neonatal infectious diseases and necrotizing enterocolitis. He is specifically interested in the prenatal influences on the developing immune system. As the director for Patient-Oriented Research, Weitkamp oversees numerous clinical trials and translational studies in neonatology. He is also a member of the Institutional Review Board and chairs the Research Committee of the American Academy of Pediatrics Section on Neonatal-Perinatal Medicine.